To have an idea so intriguing that you are willing to do anything to make it happen, I believe this is the seed from which many great things grow. The Nasa_Naames project began as an idea over a beer in Corsica, surely the genesis of many amazing journeys, to study the earth’s largest phytoplankton bloom and the aerosols surrounding us.
An idea that would bring together NAMES, many complete strangers, to this one place together, intertwined by the common thread of curiosity that motivates one to sail away from safe harbors.
The data collected here will someday be published in scientific journals and papers around the world. Some of it will challenge widely held beliefs and some will be challenged. Ultimately, building a bridge to more questions; more worlds of possibility to be explored.
What isn’t as easy to measure is the impact this work has on the human experience.
Evidence and the realization of this is always found in one place, that far off gaze, the one filled with all the collective wisdom, fears, hopes and dreams that have brought us all together. Visually, this begins at the dock, when the rope is untied and the vessel sets course, the buzz of the days leading up to the journey goes silent. That’s where you find that moment of serenity looking forward to the magical world that awaits on the wide-open sea.
I will let our lead scientist Mike Behrenfeld explain.
I love surprises, they give us the opportunity to dive into the unknown with unquenchable curiosity. Two years ago, I made the decision to leave my job as an Atlanta television reporter. I moved home to Massachusetts and found myself on Cape Cod with no job and no idea of what was next, no idea about the pure magic that was about to enter my life. A friend of mine called and asked me to do a favor for a small radio station where she had just taken a job. All I had to do was go to Woods Hole, MA and interview a scientist about a mission called the NASA_NAAMES project. That scientist would end up changing my life and perspective in ways I am still trying to find the words to fully explain. After a discussion about their impending journey at sea--an invitation to join them. Though, Mike Behrenfeld and I still disagree on who asked who we DO agree on the result--a fantastic partnership was born. With less than twenty four hours notice I was on a ship headed to parts of the North Atlantic that few ever see in winter AND for good reason!! The conditions can be intense! At the time, given the challenges at sea and my video equipment being limited to one tiny little camera . (RE: 24 hours notice) this blog became a way for me to communicate with the family members whose loved ones were so far away. Giving them an onboard look at the fascinating work at the hands of those they call family. Fast forward we are at it again!! This time as the scientists dive deeper into all that is unseen in our oceans--we will dive deeper into their research, the incredible sacrifices that come with that and the love that fuels their mission of discovery. The journey continues March 20th.....
The R/V Atlantis is an impressive ship, a 275-foot, steel-hulled research vessel operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.